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After Midnight (A.M.) This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

the distance of so many miles could
burn away at both ends with only
the spark of a star—plucked, the shiver
of a violin string, cold as we are in
not-quite-tomorrow. instead letters
decompose on my shy tongue, taste
bloody-iron and dry ashen crawling
black form begging to be buried alongside
ancestors (april 15 april 25 may 1 may 12),
perhaps friends (may 30),
autopsied then obscured with flower upon
flower wilted. but i swallow:
three months ticking and this will not kill me yet
my fingers claw at the craving for light nestled
in my throat where voices sleep. and yours
slipped under the door with the hall light;
i grazed it, semi-conscious, felt
light bulb flicker and fluttered eyelids. in morning
i wondered where the moon was, absent
from my 11:11 grave, concluding you
stole it to re-screw into my synthetic sky falling
from my eyes (it's dimming i confess
to keep you awake so i could counterfeit
lights from your eyes restoring). i saw the creases
of your lids smooth at midnight, wanted
to wish goodnight with grace like yours, but
summer burns me to the bone, a blackened
wick crumbling into memory missing
the silence of us at night. i do not have enough
electricity and the stars sputter out (june 29, june 30).



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